St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tires, Thistles, Tomatoes and Thighs

My Super C Farmall wheel rim that rusted out in spots is getting back in shape.  After scaling brushing and sanding rust, I put a rust treatment and then fiberglass screen and Bondo and painted it with Rustoleum primer so am getting within a day or two of putting it all together. 




the rusted area needs to be sanded and primed and then the whole wheel painted before reassembly.

The whole tire, tube and rim process has been slow but rather enjoyable.  Hope it works out!

While the paint is drying, I took a stroll around the garden -- and was struck by the diversity of wild plants (weeds) in an unmowed strip between bean field and garden.  The bees were enjoying it; gold finches after the thistle down and seed, and a chipmunk watched me carefully from a nearby pine. 

















Margo had an MRI on her back and found two problems-- "a synovial cyst that is causing some narrowing of your spinal canal and protrudes into the L5 nerve root sleeve, the MRI also showed disc extrusion."  Both are pressing on a nerve that goes to the leg and causing so much pain that she barely is able to walk.  My Googling the conditions suggest that she may be have a shot in the back (cortisone?) to see if that will relieve the pain, and possibly a needle to try to drain the cyst.  They appear to be caused by some back vertebrae gradually breaking down. 
She doesn't have the appointment with that specialist until a week from this Friday.  In the meantime, she is sitting quietly with Scott helping out in Pine Island.  This getting older business is not so great!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hints of Autumn?

Took a drive from farm to the cabin (2 miles) and on the way stopped to check out Brother Ev's deer hunting shack


High atop a hill in the edge of a field is Ev's hunting cabin.  I think it is about 40 years old or so.  He made it from home sawn lumber.  Every deer hunting season, after the first weekend, when hunting is slow, the boys migrate to the shack for some leisurely hunting.  
The view to the north across the valley
Some trees are turning--I think it was because of the several dry weeks -- not because fall is coming. 

The yellow transparent apples are almost ripe.  This apple tree, nearest the outhouse, seems to grow especially well!

The cattail swamp to the east.  When we were kids, this was a small pond that our cows used for drinking water.  Over the years of pasturing it, they gradually tromped the edges in and wallowed through it until now it is a very shallow cattail bog with no water in sight. 

The yellow transparent is a very early apple--just about ripe right now.  Makes good pies and apple crisps, then one day you go out there and the apples have all turned to mush over night.  Need to pick them early. Mom made apple sauce out of them in a good year (this is a good year for some apples).
Getting ready for the "old sale" at the Cushing Community Center this Saturday 8-noon at Cushing Fun Days.  Downstairs the Fire Department (51 years old) is having a pancake breakfast and upstairs we are having an open house in the museum (Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society) and a sale of "old stuff."  
Since I have been cleaning out Mom's knick knacks and old dishes and so on, I am tubbing a bunch of stuff to take out and see if it is saleable or not.   As I go through the dishes, there are a few from what I remember as Mom's pine cone set; the gold rimmed white ones; several sets of plastic (Melmac?); some vintage Tupperware.  I almost put the last of the two stemmed ice-cream dishes in the sale, but I got to thinking about the enjoyment we got with them and back in the cupboard they went. 

About this time of year--in 1950 or thereabouts--Dad would drive the 38 Chev out to Cushing and get a 50 cent block of ice from Mike Laier (who had a wonderful sawdust filled ice shed behind the north bar -- near the Co-op).  We used the hammer and chisel to break it up and fill the hand crank ice cream freezer around the drum.  Marv used the dipper to scoop out two quarts of fresh cream from the milk cans sitting in the cold water tank; a few raw eggs, some sugar and if there were still some raspberries left, a handful of those went into the metal bucket with the dasher inside.  
Then an hour of cranking and salting the ice until it got stiff, 20 minutes more of impatient waiting to let it "ripen" and we had a wonderful treat.  Of course, with no freezer of our own yet, we had to eat it all before it melted.   No artificial ingredients, no worry about fat, sugar or diet, just pure pleasure!


That might be Marv and Ev and Byron, or maybe I have mixed up our photos with some others ;-)

Junque or Treasure ?









And many more boxes to go!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Super C Farmall Re-Tired

Took the Super C Farmall out to disk some heavy grass down in the new part of the orchard and got a flat tire on the rear right wheel.  Checking it out, found the rim was rusted through and a stick had poked a hole in the tube.   

So decided to remove the wheel, take off the tire and fix the tube and rim and get it back going again.  Started on Friday.  
Flat tire on the Super C.  Note the shadow of the repairman. Super C Farmalls were made from 1951-54.  Dad bought his first one in 51, and later a this one used from his brother Lloyd. The first one was used for parts and then the hulk sold to the neighbor Stewie. 

It's only flat on the bottom

Sprayed penetrating oil on the 6 bolts holding the rim to the wheel to remove the tire and rim first.  After letting the oil penetrate for 5 hours, a socket and a long pipe broke the nuts loose from the bolts and they came out fine for having been on 30 years or more. 
The rim has rusted near the valve stem.  


The tire has rusted to the rim and "breaking the bead" is very difficult.  Driving another tractor onto the tire sometimes will break the bead--but not this one. 



Chaining a handyman jack (very heavy bumper jack type) to use the jacking power to break the bead is successful.  Once the bead is broken on one spot, you move the jack to the other side and break it there and then it all comes loose easily.  Then you turn the tire/rim over and do it for side B.



After breaking the bead, you reach in and unstick the tube from the rim (usually rusted fast) and pull it out, then taking two wrecking bars, pry the tire off the rim.  Stick one in and pry a starting place and push it down to stay, then take the other next to the gap and with a 3 lb hammer, pound it around the rim prying the tire off as it goes.  Not too bad if you have some arm strength. 

The tube is out--need to clean the rust off and patch it and make sure it is reusable.  Tubes for tractor tires of this 11.2x36 are somewhat rare and cost about $60 plus shipping. 



The rim has rusted out in one spot and is covered with rust and scale.  A new rim is close to $300 with shipping, so you patch it if you can.  I will hammer the whole rim to knock loose the scale, then wire brush it and then either find someone to weld a patch on or maybe try fiberglass and bondo auto body repair.  It needs to be smooth and strong enough to hold the tube in and protect it from punctures.   The valve stem hole is rusted out too (can you pick it out in the photo?)  so I will drill a new one where the metal is strong.  Rusting is usually by the valve stem hole. 

Hammering with the wedged end of the blacksmith's hammer will knock loose most of the scale. Then the brushing and patching and painting with some heavy duty rust inhibitor and it should, as my father liked to say when he got to his 70's "do me out."  Of course, since he lived to be 89, and mom another 10 years after that, some fixes, like the Certainteed bad shingle new roof, didn't do them out.

This week will be rim work and maybe in a few days, depending on my ambition, the Super C will again be in super shape.    

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Foggy Morning Tour


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.   Carl Sandburg 

The wren living next to the house scolded me awake as he voiced disapproval of a stray cat passing through the yard at 5:30 am.  It was the early morning pre-sunrise light and fog that makes me want to rub my eyes to clear them that pushed me into a trip around the neighborhood and photograph fog filterings.
















Margo's father is adjusting well to his new assisted care apartment, so she headed back to Pine Island Wednesday to check on things and to drop into Mayo for a few tests.  I expect her to be back here on the back side of Bass Lake sometime in the next few days if all is OK.  

I am saving some things for her to do so she will feel needed (hoeing, house cleaning, and a few other things).   I go around the house and strew some papers, and mess up the coffee tables and sprinkle bread crumbs on the carpet just to make it look like I need help in keeping things in order.  I also leave a few weeds in the flower beds and garden just for her to pull so she knows things aren't perfect when she is gone.  A good husband has to make sure his wife understands she is a key part in keeping him from falling into complete rusticity and hillbillity.  

I have been on my own since the beginning of April.  My own level of housekeeping is somewhat more informal.  My underware don't complain if they aren't bleached and folded; my socks seem to get along without being paired (it helps to only buy black socks of one brand and style); I can live without seeing the table under my projects.  

I do have standards; foods that smell or have disappeared under fuzzy mold is tossed; muddy shoes rarely track past the kitchen; one pot of coffee per week (zapped in the microwave) is sufficient and my basic core food preparation principle:  "If you can't cook it in the microwave it probably isn't worth eating."  Only pizza's seem to be less than excellent microwaved--but I am working on a solution for that -- microwave them on the cardboard.  If you do it right, the cardboard flames up near the end of the zap and browns the bottom nicely.  

On my drive this morning with the "new" 99 Dodge Dakota, the driver's side window went down and refused to go up -- power windows.  The passenger side window goes down from the driver's side button but to go up you have to use the passenger side window switch.  After jiggling it around a little, it went up, so I have diagnosed a faulty switch.  Now to figure out the secret fasteners that secure the door panel (with strange star shaped screw heads) and remove it and replace the switch.  The '99 Hyundai has the old style hand cranks -- a much more robust system.  

My 1937 Chev Pickup that I had from 1960-2010 had hand cranks that still worked fine after 70 years, however the crank to open the windshield outward for really cool driving got stripped as I regulated this early kind of air conditioning too often as I tried to cool down my dates back in the old days.  

Have spent about 20 hours over several days copying information about George A. Nelson for a project I am doing with the Polk County Genealogical Society.  Still have a day or two left--I do 3-4 hours at a time.  

We picked the most famous Polk Countian of the first half of the 20th century that had disappeared from memory to do a research project on.  You can get the summary (although somewhat filled with errors) on wikipedia by clicking on George A. Nelson


His grandaughter, who lives nearby, has six large plastic tubs of old photos, political papers, newspaper clippings, letters and even an 1898-1900 journal George kept of his 2 years in the Klondyke Gold Rush in the Yukon.   Right now I am reading 20 or so newspapers from Dawson City that he brought back -- dated 1899-1900, yellowed, somewhat fragile, very tiny print and having the smell of vinegar -- old acid based paper.  I am photographing them too. 

George Nelson, left, with the Polk County, WI Fair Board outside the grandstand and main office.